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Mark Cavendish sprints to another stage victory

The overall leaders remain locked in place as Cavendish earns his fourth stage victory of this year's race. American Tyler Farrar finishes second.

July 16, 2009|Lauren Goldman | ; Associated Press

Mark Cavendish won the 11th stage of the Tour de France on Wednesday, Rinaldo Nocentini of Italy held onto the yellow jersey and Lance Armstrong remained third overall.

Armstrong finished safely in the main pack, with his Astana teammate Alberto Contador narrowly ahead of him in second place overall after Wednesday's 119-mile trek from Vatan to Saint-Fargeau.

Nocentini leads Contador by six seconds and Armstrong trails by eight.

"I feel in very good shape," Nocentini said. "I hope to keep the yellow jersey."

Cavendish sealed his second straight stage win and fourth of the Tour. The British cyclist finished about half a bike length ahead of American Tyler Farrar in a sprint finish on a flat stage.

Cavendish took the green jersey from Thor Hushovd of Norway, who finished fifth, and equaled British rider Barry Hoban's tally of eight career Tour stage wins.

"I was able to get the jump on Thor and win, so it was perfect," Cavendish said. "It was just beautiful the way the guys could adapt to the situation and deliver me to the sprint."

Cavendish, 134th overall, will defend the green jersey on another flat stage today before the race heads into a medium mountain stage Friday.

Nocentini was among the riders who fell in two early crashes, giving Belgian rider Johan Van Summeren and Marcin Sapa of Poland the opportunity to break away after 18.7 miles.

The early leaders were eventually caught by the chasing pack, led by the Team Columbia-High Road riders, about three miles from the finish.

Quote of the day: "This is a massive, massive insult to say that the guys are weak. They gave me a massive fight until today, they came close." -- Cavendish, when asked about his rivals' performances at this year's Tour.

*--* STAGE 11 RESULTS 1. Mark Cavendish, Britain 4:17:55 2. Tyler Farrar, United States - same time 3. Yauheni Hutarovich, Belarus - same time 4. Oscar Freire, Spain - same time 5. Thor Hushovd, Norway - same time *--*

*--* OVERALL STANDINGS 1. Rinaldo Nocentini, Italy 43:28:59 2. Alberto Contador, Spain :06 behind 3. Lance Armstrong, United States :08 behind 4. Levi Leipheimer, United States :39 behind 5. Bradley Wiggins, Britain :46 behind *--*

Today's stage: The riders face 131.4 miles with six minor climbs from Tonnerre to Vittel. The course favors sprinters.

Destination Vittel: Vittel mineral water is channeled from the Vittel Thermal Spa, a resort in town dedicated to health and fitness. This water has been available for curative and commercial purposes since the 1850s and was the water provider for the London Marathon for the eleventh consecutive year in 2009. If any of the riders in the Tour have sore muscles, they should take a break in Vittel and lounge in one of the thermal spring pools where their bodies can be rejuvenated.

-- Lauren Goldman

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